Unlike his brothers, Ted Kennedy lived a full and complete life, dying from non-violent means.
A planeload of explosives blew Joe Kennedy to bits in the waning days of World War II. Assassins killed Jack and Bobby.
But Teddy survived, escaping almost sure political death when his car plunged off a bridge at Chappaquiddick and he swam to shore while political aide and rumored paramour Mary Jo Kopechne drowned. The incident killed his Presidential hopes in 1980 but not his ambition, his desire or his career in the Senate.
When he ran for President in 1980, Kennedy had already reached age 48 — older than any of his brothers at their deaths. He would live another 29 years and become a senior statesman of the Democratic party and a standard bearer for liberalism.
In the quiet of a Capitol elevator, one of Edward M. Kennedy’s fellow senators asked whether the Massachusetts senator had plans for a family Thanksgiving away from the nation’s capital. No, he said shaking his head in reply, and mentioned something about visiting his brothers’ gravesites at Arlington National Cemetery.
In his half-century in the public glare, Kennedy was, above all, heir to a legacy — as well as a hero to liberals, a foil to conservatives, a legislator with few peers.
Senator Edward Kennedy, a towering figure in the Democratic Party who took the helm of one of America’s most fabled political families after two older brothers were assassinated, has died, his family said. He was 77.
"Edward M. Kennedy, the husband, father, grandfather, brother and uncle we loved so deeply, died late Tuesday night at home in Hyannis Port (Massachusetts)," the Kennedy family said in a statement.